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Publikdragande namn eller aktivister med drag i?: Om symboliskt kapital i organiseringen av ett lokalt socialt forum.
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Studies in Adult, Popular and Higher Education. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences. (Vuxenutbildning och folkbildning)
2010 (English)In: Sociologisk forskning, ISSN 0038-0342, Vol. 47, no 2, 73-97 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


[Title in English:Crowd-pulling names or energetic activists? – On symbolic capital as a power resource in the local organizational work within the global justice movement] 

The article explores the global emergence of local Social Forums by means of an ethnographic study of the organization of the Stockholm Social Forum. In international academic debate, the forums are often discussed as a "globalization from below" and a new deliberative democratic process. However, empirical research on the organizational process, and its power relations, has been very limited. The theoretical concept symbolic capital (Bourdieu) and concepts from conversation analysis (CA) are used to analyze how power in terms of priority of interpretation is constructed in conversations between activists with differing political backgrounds. A detailed empirical analysis is based on the case of an internal discussion about inviting keynote speakers to the local forum. The results show how transnational networks and specific knowledge about the global social forum process became symbolic capital in the organizational process. Holders of this specific form of symbolic capital gained priority of interpretation in the internal discussions. This had an impact on the practical outcome of the organizational process in terms of the symbolic framing of the Social Forum. It is argued that the social forum process produces specific forms of cultural distinctions, social hierarchies and patterns of exclusion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 47, no 2, 73-97 p.
Keyword [en]
Social Forums, symbolic capital, power in social movements, ethnography, global justice movement
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12953ISI: 000279175300005OAI: diva2:17525
Available from: 2008-02-20 Created: 2008-02-20 Last updated: 2012-11-08
In thesis
1. I skärningspunkten mellan det globala och det lokala: Tolkningsprocesser och koalitionsbyggande i organiseringen av lokala sociala forum
Open this publication in new window or tab >>I skärningspunkten mellan det globala och det lokala: Tolkningsprocesser och koalitionsbyggande i organiseringen av lokala sociala forum
2008 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

World Social Forum, and the worldwide appearance of regional, national and local Social Forums (SF), is an important part of the movement for global justice. The aim of this thesis is to explore how the SF as a global phenomenon is interpreted and staged locally in Sweden. Central questions are: What local meanings are given to the SF phenomenon when it is introduced and organized in a local context? What relations are created between the various actors in this organizational process in terms of coalitions and power relations? How do the SFs relate to the Swedish institutionalized popular adult education? These questions are explored in the four articles on which this thesis rests. Ethnographic field studies of local organizational processes constitute the empirical basis of theoretically informed hermeneutic interpretations. A neo-gramscian perspective is used to analyze the SF as a potentially counter-hegemonic popular education phenomenon. This perspective has been complemented by mainly two theoretical concepts, that is, framing and symbolic capital. Results demonstrate how the emergence of SFs in Sweden is characterized by a widespread desire among various activists and organizations to build coalitions. In the establishment of SFs the institutionalized popular adult education play both the role of a source of economic and material resources and of being a link between various organizations. However, in the wide and formally open organizational process, specific distinctions and hierarchies arise that might neutralize the SF’s ideological impact and its potential for counter-hegemonic coalition construction. Finally, a Swedish academic debate on the concept of “folkbildning” (popular adult education) is addressed. It is argued that there is a need to widen the scope of this debate to more frequently focus on global (popular) educational phenomena (such as the social forums) in research on “folkbildning”, and not only pay attention to “typical” national or Nordic institutions and traditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för beteendevetenskap och lärande, 2008. 87 p.
Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 125
Social Forums, popular adult education, ethnography, counter-hegemonic coalitions, framing, symbolic capital.
National Category
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-11085 (URN)978-91-85523-00-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-01-31, I:101, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2008-02-20 Created: 2008-02-20 Last updated: 2010-01-13Bibliographically approved

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